The Merchant Shipping (Liability of Shipowners and Others) Act, 1996.
AN ACT TO GIVE THE FORCE OF LAW TO THE CONVENTION ON LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR MARITIME CLAIMS, 1976, DONE AT LONDON ON THE 19th DAY OF NOVEMBER, 1976, THE CONVENTION RELATING TO THE CARRIAGE OF PASSENGERS AND THEIR LUGGAGE BY SEA, 1974, DONE AT ATHENS ON THE 13th DAY OF DECEMBER, 1974, AS AMENDED BY THE PROTOCOL THERETO DONE AT LONDON ON THE 19th DAY OF NOVEMBER, 1976, THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE UNIFICATION OF CERTAIN RULES OF LAW RELATING TO BILLS OF LADING DONE AT BRUSSELS ON THE 25th DAY OF AUGUST, 1924, AS AMENDED BY THE PROTOCOLS THERETO DONE AT BRUSSELS ON THE 23rd DAY OF FEBRUARY, 1968, AND THE 21st DAY OF DECEMBER, 1979, RESPECTIVELY, AND TO PROVIDE FOR RELATED MATTERS. [14th December, 1996]
BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:
Preliminary and General
Short title, commencement, collective citation and construction.
1.—(1) This Act may be cited as the Merchant Shipping (Liability of Shipowners and Others) Act, 1996.
(2) This Act shall come into operation on such day or days as by order or orders made by the Minister under this section may be fixed therefor, either generally or with reference to a particular purpose or provision and different days may be fixed for different purposes and different provisions.
(3) The Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1993, and this Act may be cited together as the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1996, and shall be construed together as one.
2.—(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“the Central Bank” means the Central Bank of Ireland;
“the Minister” means the Minister for the Marine.
(2) (a) In this Act a reference to a section or Schedule is a reference to a section of, or a Schedule to, this Act unless it is indicated that reference to some other enactment is intended.
(b) In this Act a reference to a subsection or paragraph is a reference to a subsection or paragraph of the provision in which the reference occurs, unless it is indicated that reference to some other provision is intended.
(c) In this Act a reference to any other enactment is a reference to that enactment as amended, extended or adapted by or under any subsequent enactment.
3.—Each enactment mentioned in column (2) of the Fourth Schedule is hereby repealed to the extent specified in column (3) of that Schedule.
4.—(1) The Minister may by order amend or revoke an order made by him or her under this Act (other than an order under section 1 (2) but including an order under this subsection).
(2) An order under subsection (1) shall be made in the like manner and its making shall be subject to the like (if any) consents and conditions as the order that it is amending or revoking.
(3) A reference in this Act to an order in force shall, as respects such an order that is amended by an order in force under this section, be construed as a reference to the first-mentioned order as so amended.
(4) An order under this Act (other than an order under section 1 (2)) shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling such order is passed by either such House within the next twenty-one days on which that House has sat after the order is laid before it, the order shall be annulled accordingly but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.
5.—The expenses incurred by the Minister in the administration of this Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.
Carriage of Goods by Sea
Interpretation ( Part IV ).
30.—(1) In this Part—
“the 1924 Convention” means the International Convention for the unification of certain rules of law relating to bills of lading done at Brussels on the 25th day of August, 1924, and references to that Convention shall be construed, other than in paragraph (a) of subsection (2), as references to that Convention as amended by the 1968 and 1979 Protocols;
“the 1968 Protocol” means the Protocol to the 1924 Convention done at Brussels on the 23rd day of February, 1968;
“the 1979 Protocol” means the Protocol to the 1924 Convention done at Brussels on the 21st day of December, 1979;
“the Rules” means Articles I to X of the 1924 Convention.
(2) In this Part and Article X of the Rules, “Contracting State” means a state that is a party to any of the following—
(a) the 1924 Convention,
(b) the 1968 Protocol,
(c) the 1979 Protocol,
whether generally as respects its territory or as respects any place or territory specified in an order under section 32 , and shall, where it is such a party only in respect of a place or territory aforesaid, be construed so that this Part and the Rules shall have effect only in relation to that place or territory.
Rules to have the force of law.
31.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, the Rules shall have the force of law in the State and judicial notice shall be taken thereof.
(2) For convenience of reference there is set out in the Third Schedule the text in the English language of the Rules.
Declarations as respects states which are Contracting States.
32.—The Minister may by order declare that any state specified in the order is a Contracting State, whether generally as respects its territory or as respects any place or territory specified in the order, and such an order that is in force shall be evidence that that state is a Contracting State as aforesaid.
Bills of lading and application of Rules.
33.—(1) Without prejudice to Article X (c) of the Rules, the Rules shall have the force of law in relation to—
(a) any bill of lading if the contract contained in or evidenced by it expressly provides that the Rules shall govern the contract, and
(b) any receipt which is a non-negotiable document marked as such if the contract contained in or evidenced by it is a contract for the carriage of goods by sea which expressly provides that the Rules are to govern the contract as if the receipt were a bill of lading,
but subject, in a case where paragraph (b) applies, to any necessary modifications and, in particular, with the omission in Article III of the Rules of the second sentence of paragraph 4 and of paragraph 7.
(2) If and so far as the contract contained in or evidenced by a bill of lading or receipt referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1) applies to deck cargo or live animals, the Rules shall, so far as they have the force of law by virtue of that subsection, have effect as if Article I (c) of the Rules did not exclude deck cargo and live animals.
(3) Subject to the provisions of this section, nothing in this Part shall be taken as applying anything in the Rules to any contract for the carriage of goods by sea, unless the contract expressly or by implication provides for the issue of a bill of lading or any similar document of title.
(4) In this section “deck cargo” means cargo which by the contract of carriage concerned is stated as being carried on deck and is so carried.
Application of Rules where port of shipment is a port in the State.
34.—Without prejudice to section 31 , the Rules shall have the force of law in relation to and in connection with the carriage of goods by sea in ships where the port of shipment is a port in the State, whether or not the carriage is between ports in two different states within the meaning of Article X of the Rules.
Absolute warranty of seaworthiness not to be implied in contracts to which Rules apply.
35.—There shall not be implied in any contract for the carriage of goods by sea to which the Rules apply any absolute undertaking by the carrier of the goods to provide a seaworthy ship.
Conversion of amounts in units of account into currency of the State for purposes of Rules.
36.—(1) For the purposes of the limit of liability specified in Article IV of the Rules, the value in the currency of the State of a unit of account specified in that Article shall be taken to be the value, ascertained in accordance with that Article, in that currency of such a unit of account on the relevant day specified in that Article, or if its value on that day cannot be so ascertained, its value in that currency on the latest day before such day on which it can be so ascertained.
(2) For the purposes of this section a certificate purporting to be signed by an officer of the Central Bank and stating that—
(a) a specified amount in the currency of the State is the value of such a unit of account on a specified day, or
(b) the value in the currency of the State of such a unit of account on a specified day cannot be ascertained in accordance with the Rules and that a specified amount in the currency of the State is the value, calculated in accordance with the Rules, of such a unit of account on a specified day (being the latest day before the first-mentioned specified day on which such value can be ascertained as aforesaid),
shall be admissible as evidence of the facts stated in the certificate.
Further saving as respects operation of Part II .
37.—Nothing in this Part shall prejudice the operation of Part II of this Act.
Exclusion of liability in certain cases.
38.—(1) Subject to subsection (3), the owner of a ship shall not be liable for any loss or damage in the following cases, namely—
(a) where any property on board the ship is lost or damaged by reason of fire on board the ship; or
(b) where any gold, silver, watches, jewels or precious stones on board the ship are lost or damaged by reason of larceny, robbery or other dishonest conduct and their nature and value were not at the time of shipment declared by their owner or shipper to the owner or master of the ship in the bill of lading or otherwise in writing.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), where the loss or damage referred to in a case aforesaid arises from anything done or omitted to be done by any person in his or her capacity as master or member of the crew of the ship or (otherwise than in that capacity) in the course of employment as a servant of the owner of the ship, subsection (1) shall also relieve of liability for such loss or damage—
(a) that person, and
(b) where that person is a servant of a person whom subsection (1) would not, apart from this paragraph, relieve of liability for such loss or damage, that other person.
(3) This section shall not relieve a person of any liability—
(a) for loss or damage resulting from any such personal act or omission of the person as is mentioned in Article 4 of the Convention referred to in section 7 ,
(b) that is imposed on the person by the Convention referred to in section 19 .
(4) In this section—
“master” means, in relation to a ship, the person having, for the time being, the command or charge of the ship;
“owner” includes, in relation to a ship, any part owner and any charterer, manager or operator of the ship.
Adaptation of certain references.
39.—A reference in any enactment to a provision of the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1993, being a provision that is repealed by this Act and which corresponds to a provision of this Act, shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be construed as a reference to the said provision of this Act.
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